Home » How to Establish Credibility In A Speech: 4 Concrete Ways

How to Establish Credibility In A Speech: 4 Concrete Ways

If you are a professional speaker or aspiring speaker, you’ve probably wondered how to establish credibility in a speech. A credible speaker is someone who equipped themself to speak on the topic and communicates this to their audience.

Your level of credibility directly influences your audiences’ reception of your talks. It also impacts future bookings and clients. Therefore, the more credible you are, the better your audience will receive you, and the more your career will progress.

There are many ways to establish credibility in a speech, and this article covers four of them. So, whether you are just starting as a public speaker or dream of taking the stage someday, you must take the necessary steps to enhance your credibility as a speaker.

What Is Speaker Credibility?

Speaker credibility, or credibility in speech, is the trustworthiness of a speaker on their chosen topic. This credibility could take the form of specific credentials, personal experience, or another factor that directly contributes to their trustworthiness. If the speaker is not credible, their words become meaningless.

Trust builds through lived experience, time invested, and knowledge. You do not need to possess all three to be a credible speaker. However, it is crucial to embody at least one characteristic when giving a speech.

Because credibility is such a determining factor in accepting a talk, it is crucial to establish credibility in a speech as soon as possible. You can establish credibility before taking the stage or after:

  • Before: Known credentials (Dr., Masters in ____, etc.)
  • After: Credibility statement (discussed later)

Whether you establish it before or after taking the stage, you must incorporate the following credibility steps into your overall speech.

How to Establish Speaker Credibility

A concise way to establish your credibility early in your speech is by presenting your audience with a credibility statement. A credibility statement simply explains your accolades, certifications, or other areas of credibility. This statement may seem simple enough in theory, but there is a methodology to making yourself appear credible on stage:

1. Give A Credibility Statement

Lewis University states, “a credibility statement tells the audience why you are experienced enough to give this speech, whether through personal experience or education.” Therefore, regardless of if you’ve educated yourself traditionally or worked in the field, you must establish your credibility with a brief statement.

If you do not have previous experience, a speech credibility statement will likely mean:

  • State why you are passionate about this topic
  • What drew you to it

Curiosity pursued breeds knowledge. Meanwhile, if you have experience in the topic, explain your qualifications.

2. Explain Why You Are Qualified To Speak On The Topic

Your specific qualifications brought you to this particular stage – share them.

  • Did you go to university and study this topic?
  • Did you conduct your research apart from traditional schooling?
  • What books have you read on the specific topic you present on?
  • Have you become an expert in this particular field or area of study?

Briefly stating these facts upfront allows your audience a peek behind the curtain. The more they understand why you are qualified to speak on this topic, the more they will trust what you say later on.

Earn the trust of your audience, so your time invested in preparing your TED talk and their time invested in listening pays off.

For example, a one or two-sentence explanation of your qualifications can drastically impact how your audience receives the next twenty minutes or two hours.

3. Establish Common Ground

Audiences want to relate to the speaker. Bear this in mind as you choose which examples to include in your speech. You may be the most credible person in the room, but audiences want to know they can relate to you personally.

If you present how to publish a book for the first time, consider sharing examples of your trial and error early in your process. People want to feel seen by you, the speaker, and know they aren’t alone in their process.

The more you establish common ground with your audience, the more they will relate to you. Relatability creates credibility. If audiences feel that they know you, they will listen to what you have to say at a personal level.

4. Deliver Your Speech With Confidence

Stephen Lucas is a communication scholar who says that you should speak fluently, expressively, and confidently when delivering your speech. In addition, he says that speaking with conviction communicates that you care about the subject matter and those listening.

Audiences see confidence through fluent monologue, expression, and confident body language. The more you deliver speeches, the better your delivery will become. If you feel unsure, consider professional coaching or affirmations to build your confidence – practice in front of family or friends and research body language.

Credibility Statement Examples

When brainstorming how to communicate well, examples of speaker credibility in a speech can be helpful.

Below are varying examples of credibility statements:

cartoon books stacking in blue circle gif

Presenting to a book club:

“I teach literature at my community college and found a passion for books at a young age. I am eager to share my passion and knowledge with you.”

Doctor to patient icon

Doctor to a patient:

“I’ve been a primary care doctor for the last thirty years and dealt with this specific health crisis many times, so let’s work together to get you healthy and enjoying your life once again.”

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Actor in an audition:

“I started acting in commercials at age five and landed my first feature film at eleven. I’ve followed your career for the last decade and would love the opportunity to work with you on this project.”

No matter what situation you find yourself in, you can present yourself well. So, whether you are a professional speaker on a stage or simply speaking in an informal situation, follow the above guidelines to put your best foot forward.

For an in-depth example of credibility statements, watch Moneeka Sawyer’s TEDx Talk: Who Is The Boss Of You?

The Three Areas Of Credibility To Master When Speaking

Three types of credibility in public speaking are compassion, confidence, and competence. Once you understand how to give a credibility statement, it’s time to learn how to master these areas before presenting. Below are some ways to demonstrate credibility in public speaking.


Compassion is crucial to establishing credibility in speech. If you are credible but lack the human aspects of understanding and patience, your audience will likely tune out. They want to know you can help them understand a topic, but they also want to know you care.

Without compassion, you will become disengaged and cannot build mutual camaraderie with those listening. Your audience wants to connect with you, and compassion is a crucial way to allow them to do so.


Public speaking is commonly known as one of the world’s biggest fears, aka stage fright, and confidence goes a long way in dispelling this fact. If you step on a stage, you have a reason to. Even if you’ve never spoken publicly before, your confidence will show your audience they can trust you.

There’s not much more uncomfortable than sitting through a speech where the speaker is ill-prepared or lacking confidence. No matter how credible your credentials, confidence will help take you to that next level. Here is a video we created on how you can gain confidence on stage.


Competence is perhaps the most critical factor in how to establish speaker credibility. Your credibility vanishes if you have confidence but do not equip yourself to speak on your topic.

It’s crucial to combine all three aspects: Compassion for your audience, confidence that you are the person to present, and confidence in your subject matter. These are the building blocks to speech credibility.

How To Move Forward As A Credible, Capable Public Speaker

Start simple by preparing a speech credibility outline. Much of this comes down to understanding who you are, what you have to offer, and how it helps your audience.

TEDx speaker, Simon Sinek calls this specific thought process your why. Determine:

  • What makes you uniquely credible
  • What you bring to the stage others don’t
  • How your positioning can help your audience

Continuously work to build your credibility in how you speak and where you speak. Doing so will build your confidence and your audience’s confidence in you. You now know:

  • What speaker credibility is
  • How to establish it
  • How to give a credible statement

You equipped yourself to use compassion, confidence, and competence to build your credibility. Even if you’re the expert in the room, you understand the importance of establishing common ground with your audience.

Use this knowledge base to build your speech. Then, take the stage with confidence. The audience will see your credibility, trust your influence, and experience change.


Sarah Rexford
Content Writer

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